World Health Organization( WHO) response to the External Evaluation of the Access to COVID- 19 Tools Accelerator( ACT- A)
WHO appreciates the broad range of views on the ACT- Accelerator( ACT- A) setup, operations and results that are captured in the External Evaluation, which was commissioned by the ACT- A Facilitation Council. Of particular value in this report are the perspectives expressed by a number of countries in Africa, South America and Asia that used ACT- A processes and services during the epidemic, but whose voices haven’t always been heard in similar reviews.
While admitting the limitations that have been cited by the authors and other observers, this report does give important perspectives that add to the growing number of evaluations, reports, reviews and recommendations that aim to inform the establishment of a stronger countermeasures platform. inclusively, this work will help shape sweats to make on the experience of ACT- A and other instruments and enterprise(e.g. the Epidemic Influenza Preparedness( PIP) Framework, the ‘ 100 Day charge ’) to insure the world can calculate on a more robust platform for accelerating the development, and indifferent allocation and delivery of countermeasures in unborn afflictions.
Of particular note in this report is the strong, maturity position of check repliers that the innovative and cooperative ACT- A arrangement was the right approach for accelerating access to COVID- 19 countermeasures at a time when the global community demanded to act snappily and decisively to combat a inadequately understood trouble. The report also documents important results that were achieved through the ACT- A approach, including the unknown speed of its core agencies in delivering vaccines and diagnostics to the smallest income countries, as compared to former afflictions, and in driving pivotal request interventions that mainly reduced prices and enhanced access to diagnostics, oxygen and antivirals at a critical time. The counterfactual is that in the absence of ACT- A, equity in access to countermeasures would have been much worse.
WHO concurs with the challenges linked in the areas of the Health Systems Connector(vs. the HSRC) and the quality assurance of rapid-fire diagnostics. With respect to the former, this assignment was learned and corrected in the course of ACT- A, with the Connector being mainly revamped and relaunched in 2021( a point that isn’t completely reflected in the report). Addressing gaps in WHO’s capacity to assess the veritably high volume of diagnostics cessions during the course of the epidemic was innately more grueling and signals the vital need for fresh backing and labor force for this area, adaptations to the assessment process for exigency situations, and lesser support from uniting agencies.
The report also reinforces preliminarily linked failings in the ACT- A operating model that were largely the result of the urgency and speed with which ACT- A had to be established.
These findings support the being agreement on the vital need to insure the unborn countermeasures platform is more inclusive, has lesser translucency in its operations and establishes robust mechanisms for collaborative responsibility. The report particularly highlights the need to fully reevaluate and rework crucial processes with low- and lower-middle income countries to insure their full and meaningful engagement.
In formulating other recommendations on the way forward, still, the report seems to have grounded some important conclusions on deficient information or a misreading of crucial aspects of the ACT- A collaboration. This appears to be the case in areas similar as how targets for product volumes were established, the original ambition for the COVAX Facility, the nature of the COVID Vaccines Delivery Platform( CoVDP) and its mode of operations, and the crucial part of individual ACT- A agencies in resource rallying.
Most importantly, and contrary to the data presented, the report could inadvertently lead compendiums to conclude that creating a more robust countermeasures platform is stylish achieved by starting from scrape, rather than erecting on the considerable, proved strengths of the ACT- A collaboration and its three product pillars. The architecture of an important check question( s) may have contributed to this perspective. From a realistic perspective, it would feel more profitable to harness and make on the substantial experience that transnational health agencies and mates have gained through their work in ACT- A, while also addressing the failings of this model.
Notwithstanding these issues, the perspectives captured in this report explosively support the need for an inclusive, robust process that engages countries, applicable transnational health agencies and associations, civil society and community associations, benefactors, assiduity and other stakeholders, toco-create a countermeasures platform that’s anchored in the principles of speed and equity. This process will need to be informed by all similar reviews and experience to optimize upstream operations(e.g. R&D, request shaping), downstream work(e.g. procurement, delivery), collaborative responsibility and backing. WHO will take such a process forward with mates and stakeholders and with urgency, because, as the evaluation report again emphasizes, this can not stay for the coming epidemic.
WHO is deeply thankful for the extraordinary part that Norway and South Africa have played inco-chairing the ACT- A Facilitation Council throughout these turbulent times, and for commissioning this External Evaluation that’s an important donation to our collaborative sweats to make a safer, fairer world, together.